Thursday, October 29, 2009

Team Effort Drives Heat to Victory

October 29, 2009

Dwyane Wade may have scored 26 points and led all players in scoring, but this was no one-man show at American Airlines Arena on Wednesday night. The Miami Heat steamrolled past the New York Knicks by the score of 115-93, having five players with double-digit scoring numbers - three of which scored over 20 (M. Beasley, J. O'Neal and D. Wade).

Miami looked energized on the court, playing aggressive defense and disrupting any fluidity in the Knicks offense. Even Heat newcomers Quentin Richardson and Carlos Arroyo stood in for a few charges to force turnovers. It was evident that Erik Spoelstra's defensive mindset was settling into the minds of the entire team.

A Healthy Jermaine O'Neal

Miami's center looked reinvigorated from last season's injury burdened performances. Putting up 22 points and 12 rebounds gave O'Neal a double-double to start off the season. His turnaround jumper in the post was working effectively and provided Miami with an inside presence throughout.

The big man also had four assists in the night, adding to Miami's team total of 21. It was the J.O. of the past, reminiscent of the days in an Indiana Pacers uniform, that ran the floor Wednesday night and gave hope to Heat fans about the potential impact he may have this season. The true challenge lies in the remaining 81 games of the season and whether or not O'Neal can survive at least 70 of those.

Haslem Off the Bench

With 5:42 left in the first quarter, Udonis Haslem came off the bench to open the season for the first time since he backed up Lamar Odom in 2003. It was an experience so foreign to Haslem that he forgot to remove his warm up shirt before stepping onto the court. Fortunately, a fellow teammate tapped him on the chest and gave him a quick reminder.

Beyond that slip up, Haslem enjoyed 30+ minutes on the court and recorded 8 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists, including a Hail Mary pass to Dwyane Wade for the jam. Haslem is still a team captain and will be an intricate part on this Heat team, the only difference is that his role and minutes will vary. The point is that he will still be an effective player on the roster.

Wade Enjoys Supporting Cast

After the game, Wade was interviewed by Jason Jackson of SUN Sports on the team's victory over the Knicks. His reaction towards not having to score in excess of 30 points to win a game was a resounding "It feels real good."

It had been Wade's MVP-esque season in 2008 that kept Miami competitive last year. To start off this season, it seems that he may not have to carry the load on offense day-in and day-out for the Heat to have success.

The sophomore forward, Beasley, enjoyed more minutes on the court and switched between SF and PF throughout the course of the game. With more minutes came more production, locking in 21 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and one blocked shot. Beasley could become Miami's second scoring option this season, followed by O'Neal, in what will help Wade stay healthy an exert less energy on the offensive end.

Other Notables
  • Quentin Richardson only tallied 5 points and 2 rebounds in the night, but is quickly finding into Miami's system; Richardson dropped from 250 lbs to 228 lbs and lowered his body fat to 6.5 % during the offseason.
  • Daequan Cook provided a spark off the bench with 15 points in 20 minutes of play; Pat Riley stated that his dribbling skills have improved and show translate into more open shots - fans saw a glimpse of that on Wednesday.

1 comment:

Carlos Serrano said...

Healthy J. O'Neal with productive Beasly equals success. Looks like a fun season ahead! Go Heat!

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